Concordia Chamber Players
Michelle Djokic, Artistic Director
Saturday June 3 at 7:30 pm
Miller Chapel, Princeton Theological Seminary
64 Mercer Street, Princeton
Emily Daggett Smith, violin
Ayane Kozasa, viola
Michelle Djokic, cello
William Wolfram, piano
Tickets available exclusively through the McCarter Ticket Office on or about March 1
The brightest talents of the chamber music world come together to perform as members of the Concordia Chamber Players. Individually they enjoy active careers as soloists and chamber musicians at major chamber music festivals such as Tanglewood, Marlboro, and the Lincoln Center Festival. They have also performed with orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony.Concordia performs to acclaim throughout our region, and has presented a concert as part of The Princeton Festival since our very first year.
This year’s program is typically enjoyable and inventive, tailored by Artistic Director Michelle Djokic to specific artists on the Concordia roster.
Philadelphia-born Pulitzer prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis debuted “Mozart En Route (Or, A Little Traveling Music),” the first work on the program, as part of an album called 100 Greatest Dance Hits. The album’s whimsical title exactly communicates the jaunty mood of this piece. Expect a mashup of Mozartean gestures, dance-band rhythms, and modern sensibility, with a moods ranging from melancholy to comic to manic flashing past like the scenery outside a train window. The dizzying ride is over in about three minutes, the length of a typical pop song.
Beethoven’s “Ghost” Trio got its name when Carl Czerny, his most famous student and a successful composer in his own right, remarked that the eerie second movement reminded him of the ghost of Hamlet’s father. He wasn’t far off – Beethoven’s notebook from that period shows he was talking with a librettist about an opera on Macbeth. The music would be good accompaniment to a scene with the three witches. By contrast the two short outer movements are brighter, warmer, and less unsettling, but as a whole trio marks a revolutionary advance in the form.
We think of Richard Strauss as the composer of big orchestral tone poems like Ein Heldenleben and lushly scored operas such as Der Rosenkavalier. But at 19 years old, when he wrote the final work on the program, he was under the influence of Brahms. The Quartet is a big, ambitious piece (especially for a teenager) with Brahmsian breadth and grandeur, but it also contains plenty of Straussian impetuosity and energy. The fiery first two movements are followed by the calm of the Andante, but the final section takes up the manner of the earlier movements and closes with a bang.
Violinist Emily Daggett-Smith has been praised as playing “gorgeously” and with “gracefulness and easy rapport” (The Boston Globe), giving performances with “irrepressible élan” (The Seattle Times). Ms. Smith made her New York concerto debut at the age of 21 in Alice Tully Hall, playing the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Juilliard Orchestra and conductor Emmanuel Villaume. Her regular performances as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States and abroad mark her as one of the most compelling artists of her generation. She has appeared at various festivals including the Seattle Chamber Music Society, Ravinia’s Steans Institute, the Olympic Music Festival, and the Festival Mozaic. Ms Smith has performed in the most prestigious venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Zankel Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Shanghai Grand Theatre, and the Vienna Konzerthaus.
Hailed for her “magnetic, wide-ranging tone” and her “rock solid technique” (Philadelphia Inquirer), violist Ayane Kozasa enjoys a career that spans a broad spectrum of musical personas. Ms. Kozasa’s solo career took off when she won the 2011 Primrose International Viola Competition, where she also captured awards for best chamber music and commissioned work performances. As a chamber artist she has appeared at numerous festivals including the Marlboro Music Festival, the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival, the Kingston Music Festival, and the Ravinia Festival. She is a founding member of the Aizuri Quartet. Ms. Kozasa also served as principal violist of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and plays with several other notable ensembles.
Cellist Michelle Djokic is Founder and Artistic Director of the Concordia Chamber Players. Since its inception in 1995 Concordia has become known for thoughtful and adventurous programming, with its performances broadcast regularly on WWFM in Princeton, NJ. Her recording with Quartet San Francisco entitled “QSF Plays Brubeck” earned a 2010 Grammy Nomination in Best Classical Crossover. Active as a chamber musician, Ms. Djokic has been invited to collaborate with Emanuel Ax, Menahem Pressler, Lynn Harrell, Toby Appel and Cho-Liang Lin, among others, as well as the Boston Chamber Players. In 2007 she became a member of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Upon moving to Northern California from the East Coast in 2005 Michelle served as Assistant Principal Cellist of the San Francisco Symphony for two seasons. Her greatest passion is chamber music collaborations with her colleagues around the world and sharing in the development of young musicians.
William Wolfram is able to summon torrents of sound for the grandest moments in the Romantic literature. He can also produce the subtlest gradations in volume and inform soft passages with the most persuasive, lambent tone. The New York Times commented, “Wolfram‘s technique is flabbergasting; fiendishly difficult octave passages were as child’s play, and his strength is tempered by an easy poetry.” He has appeared as soloist nationally and around the world with orchestras in Dallas, Florida, Fort Worth, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Omaha, San Diego, San Francisco, Syracuse, Budapest, Krakow, and Moscow, among others. He is the rare concerto soloist who is equally versatile and adept as a recitalist, accompanist and chamber musician. As a recitalist he has performed in numerous halls in France, Holland, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, and the Philippines.
Listen to this excerpt from Aaron Copland’s Rodeo
and enjoy this excerpt of Erich Korngold’s Suite Opus 23 for Left Hand Piano, 2 violins and cello (Rondo-Finale). You’ll discover why Concordia Chamber Players has been a staple of The Princeton Festival since its inception, returning year after year as an audience favorite!